Thursday, October 8, 2009

Harlem Rugelach Reveries



I adore rugelach. Actually, anything drenched in sugar, cinnamon and butter enthralls me but that's not the point. The point is that I have sampled authentic, oven-warmed rugelach in Austrian cafes. I have munched on kosher rugelach from Jewish bakeries. I've even tried generic rugelach from big chain grocery stores. But none of them have managed to inspire the buttery heaven that Mr. Lee's rugelach from Lee Lee's Baked Goods, conjures within me. Ensconced on a West Harlem side street, Lee Lee's store window proclaims "rugelach by a brother." It's not exactly the phrase you'd expect for a traditional Eastern European treat but Mr. Lee was trained by a Rabbi to create perfect rugelach.



Mr. Lee's secret it seems, is that unlike most bakers, he skips cheap vegetable shortening and creates handmade butter dough for his rugelach. The flaky dough literally melts in your mouth and the generous sprinkling of raisins and nuts make them seriously addictive. Proclaimed by the New York Times as "buttery, magnificent and fleeting," Mr. Lee's rugelach incites customers to journey from all over New York to snag his apricot or chocolate pastries baked daily.


Of course, Lee Lee's Baked Goods doesn't just sell rugelach. The kindly Mr. Lee also serves up honey nut pound cake shown above, sweet potato pie, red velvet and lemon cakes,to name a few of the sweet offerings. But none of them tempt you quite as much as the rugelach.

17 comments:

Tiffany,Ebony Intuition said...

That looks so good.

Dominique said...

I haven't had rugelach...looks great, but the red velvet cake might tempt me as well :)

Fly Girl said...

Tiffany, it tastes even better!

Dominique, What! Your life won't be completely lived until you try some rugelach.

Amanda said...

Definitely on my food list for next time I am in New York... Thanks for the info!

A Cuban In London said...

Hahaha! I just had to laugh at that 'by a brother' caption. You're quite right, but then that's what you get in a melting pot when it works, isn't it? Brilliant post and excellent pictures. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Lola said...

Would love some right about now!

Fly Girl said...

Amanda, I would put them at the top of your list, next to the locavore cheese!

Cubano, I knew that you'd catch that phrase!

Lola, I'm dying for some too. I think I'll make a trip to the bakery..

Catherine said...

Oh wow this looks yummy and what´s more is a new one on me - cinnamon rolls yes... but rugelach looks like it is taking cinnamon sugariness to a whole new level... can you give me the address please for when I am next up in NY??
ps have just finished a brand new Bosnian novel set in present and historic Chicago that you might like - I really enjoyed it. It is called The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon - the book also contains beautiful black and White photos from The Chicago Historic Society. Greetings from Mexico

marina villatoro said...

yummmmmm. i am sooo craving tasty and sweet stuff lately and this just made me drool!

Fly Girl said...

Catherine, get ready for a new addiction: 283 W. 118th St., (917) 493-6633, it's best to call ahead because they sell out quick and he only bakes them a pan at a time. I remember when a flood of Bosnians moved into several neighborhoods in Chicago in the 90s. I wonder if the book is taking some of those events, I will look it up. Thanks.

Marina, tasty and sweet is an everyday craving for me but especially when it gets cold.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Sadly, I had never heard of rugelach. It looks a delight.

900th post on my Journal

Stephen Bess said...

Yum! They look so good. I'll have to taste one day.

Fly Girl said...

Jean-Luc, it is indeed sad, you must find a way to taste Rugelach! Congrates on your milestone.

Stephen, I'm sure you can find rugelach in the DC area.

Danielle said...

Wow, what an interesting story! Thanks for sharing this.

Adrienne S. said...

I've never heard of or had rugelach before, but these pictures make me want to! To bad the pix aren't scratch and sniff.

Wendy said...

I'll have to check this out the next time I'm in the neighborhood.

Fly Girl said...

Adrienne, that's a great idea! Thanks for droppin by.

Wendy, you definitely have to visit this place.